Islamabad, 9 February 2024 (TDI): On the Chinese New Year 2024, based on the lunar calendar, Pakistan’s Ambassador Jalil Abbas Jilani extends his warm wishes and expresses a commitment to enhancing cooperation and solidarity between China and Pakistan.
“As the festive season begins, we renew our commitment to strengthening the bonds of cooperation and solidarity between 🇵🇰 & 🇨🇳.”
— Pakistan Embassy China (@PakinChina_) February 9, 2024
This marks the renewal of their dedication to strengthening cordial relations between both countries during this auspicious time.
What is Lunar New Year?
In simple terms, it is a traditional celebration based on the lunar calendar. It marks the beginning of the lunar year, which is widely celebrated in Asia and among diaspora communities around the world. As the lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon, the dates of the holiday vary each year, falling between late January and mid-February.
The lunar year in China is known as the Chinese New Year or Spring Festival, Tet in Vietnam, Seollal in Korea, and Losar in Tibet.
Lunar New Year of the Dragon
The Lunar New Year of the Dragon is a celebration based on the Chinese zodiac, which operates on a 12-year cycle, with each year associated with a specific animal sign. The year of the dragon involves 2024, 2012, 2000, 1918, 1974, 1964, 1952, and the next one will be 2036.
It is also paired with the five Chinese elements, such as wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The upcoming Year of the Dragon element is wood. The characteristics of the Wood Dragon differ from those of other elemental dragons.
They are said to be quieter and more introverted, but they are also successful, strong leaders who dedicate themselves fully to their work.
Beliefs of Chinese people
The Chinese New Year is deeply rooted in their traditions and customs. They believe that the characteristics of these animals influence the personality traits of individuals born in that year.
The Lunar Year of the Dragon, for instance, is associated with power, wisdom, and good fortune.
The festival marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, symbolizing renewal and new beginnings. It’s a time for families to come together, celebrate, and wish each other good luck for the next year.
Reunion dinners on the eve of the New Year are a central part of this tradition.
Special food on this occasion
As the celebrations are mainly centered around removing bad luck and welcoming all that is good and prosperous, the meal of the occasion also symbolizes prosperity and good fortune.
In Chinese culture, for example, changshou mian, or “long-life noodles,” are consumed with a wish for a long, healthy, and happy life.
Whole fish, dumplings, and spring rolls are must-have dishes, symbolizing prosperity, good fortune, and wealth, respectively.
“Rice cake” or “Chinese New Year cake” symbolizes growth, progress, and the promise of a better year. It is made from glutinous rice and can be savory or sweet.
In lunar year tradition, oranges and tangerines are popular fruits as they symbolize good luck and success. The words for oranges and tangerines sound like “luck” and “success” in the Chinese language.
Celebration by Chinese people
Before this festive day, people cleaned their houses thoroughly in order to sweep away any bad luck and make way for good fortune. Debts are settled, and red clothes are worn to signify a fresh start. Houses are decorated with red couplets, lanterns, and new flowerpots.
Fireworks and loud noises are used to drive away evil spirits. Dragon and lion dances are performed during parades and are believed to bring good luck and prosperity.
Members of the families unite together and burn incense to worship their ancestors. The 15th day of the Lunar New Year marks the Lantern Festival, symbolizing the end of the celebration. Lanterns are lit, and parades with beautifully crafted lanterns take place.
Elder members of the family give money to younger ones in a red envelope; hence, the color red is associated with prosperity and happiness.
These beliefs and traditions have been passed down through generations, fostering a sense of community and the importance of family and positive beginnings.
Famous event on Lunar New Year celebration
The celebration of the lunar year varies from place to place, like in China. One of the premier events, the Spring Festival Gala, is a massive televised event featuring various traditional performances, skits, and entertainment.
It is watched and enjoyed by many Chinese people around the world and has become a traditional part of the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
Taiwanese people host the Lantern festival on the 15th day of the first month in the lunar calendar. The Ministry of Tiwan organized a tourism hotspot for this celebration. People light beautifully crafted lanterns as they are considered to symbolize hope and prosperity.
Moreover, Rice dumplings are distributed in the streets, and the people of Taiwan pay tribute to the centuries-old traditions.
In South Korea, traditional celebrations include the ancestral rite (charye), wearing traditional clothing, playing traditional games, and enjoying special foods.
The Vietnamese New Year shares similarities with the Chinese New Year. People celebrate with family gatherings, special foods, fireworks, and traditional performances.
The Tibetan New Year is celebrated with religious ceremonies, traditional dances, and festive meals. On the third day of celebration, people visit monasteries and burn branches of pine trees, cypress, and other herbs to make aromatic smoke as a kind of offering to God.
In a nutshell, each country and region have slight variations in their celebrations. However, the overall themes of family reunion, honoring ancestors, and welcoming the new year with positive energy are commonly shared.